Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Setup of Alsa on EMU0404 PCI

If you have no idea what is Alsa, Jack and emu10k1 you can stop reading right here.

I've built a new PC based on ASUS mobo P8Z77-M and installed Ubuntu Studio 12.10 on it. Also I've plugged emu0404 PCI (not PCIe) sound card into it. Though the card is supported by Soundblaster/Emu only for Windows, there are Alsa drivers for Linux too. I've successfully installed alsa-base and other alsa packages that include emu10k1 driver and firmware for it. However there were some issues.

Issue #1. Initially output to emu was broken. aplay repeated 1 sec fragment of sound many times. The issue is appeared to be in poor interrupts distribution by BIOS, or by inability this card to share an interrupt with other devices, in my case it was USB host controller. I could not plug the card into another slot, because there is only one legacy PCI slot on mobo. I tried to boot with kernel parameters acpi=off noapic and other acpi and pci options. Sometimes it worked, but often not.
The issue has been fixed by updating BIOS to 1806.

Issue #2. Playback to emu is perfect but there is no input capture. I've turned on all switches in alsamixer, maxed up all shaders. Still no capture. Somehow I've googled this thread: https://ardour.org/node/4061 . I started to set all alsamixer settings according to what linuxdsp user has recommended. And Ta-Daa! Sound got captured into Alsa. The important thing that was not described anywhere is to set internal routing in emu0404.
Specifically, in alsamixer on Capture tab set [DSP 0] to [0202 ADC Left] and [DSP 1] to [0202 ADC Right] accordingly.


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